In the United States, older adults are more likely to live alone than in any other country. According to Pew Research, 27 percent of adults age 60 and older live alone. According to a recent federal study, half of all women over 75 live alone. Seniors who live alone without any other family members are often called “solo agers,” “solo seniors,” or “elder orphans.” Fellow seniors face unique challenges when it comes to protecting themselves and their assets.
If you are a solo senior, estate planning is crucial. It’s crucial that solo seniors take the time to protect their interests by consulting with an experienced estate planning lawyer. The dedicated estate planning lawyers at Palmer & Slay, PLLC care deeply about helping solo seniors create a comprehensive state plan that includes asset protection strategies. If you are a solo senior in Mississippi, Palmer & Slay, PLLC is here to help. Contact them today to learn more about how they can assist you with estate planning for solo seniors.
Decide on Estate Planning Documents as Solo Seniors
Taking the time to create an estate plan as a solo senior is important. Solo seniors who pass away without an estate plan are at the mercy of the state of Mississippi’s intestacy laws. If you pass away without a will or trust in place, a Mississippi probate court will require assets to be distributed to your heirs under the law. Because this process is inflexible, it could result in a distant, unintended relative receiving the benefits of your sacrifice and hard work.
If you are unsure where to begin or you’re overwhelmed about your estate plan, the compassionate attorneys at Palmer & Slay, PLLC are here to help. We will carefully listen to your goals and desires for your estate plan. If you have questions about your estate plan, we will take the time to answer your questions using plain English thoroughly. We can explain the differences between a will-based estate plan and a trust-based estate plan.
Many estate plans don’t need to be overly complicated. We may only need to create a will that names a personal representative who will settle your estate and sets forth how to distribute your property. If you have significant assets, a child with special needs, a pet, or a business, setting up a trust-based estate plan could help you and your loved ones save time and money. We can help you execute the up-to-date estate planning documents you need to provide clear instructions on how you want your estate to be distributed after you’re gone.
Estate Planning for Safety as Solo Seniors
Estate planning for solo seniors involves some unique challenges. If you’re living alone as a senior citizen, taking the time to create a safety plan can be helpful. The goal of a safety plan is to make sure that if you experience a medical emergency or fall, you will be able to receive help. There are several different smartphone apps you can use to check in periodically. Other types of technology, such as necklaces and monitors, can help detect a fall and send a notice to emergency medical services.
Part of creating a safety plan involves planning for a potential hospital stay or emergency medical situation. Who will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated? We can help you create a medical power of attorney that designates a health care surrogate or agent who can make certain types of medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated as well as allow you to direct how you wish to be treated at the end of your life.
Discussing end-of-life and emergency medical situations can be difficult, but creating a medical power of attorney will help you and your loved ones navigate difficult decisions effectively, will make sure your choices are respected, and that you receive the type of care you want.
Determine Where You’d Like to Live
Many of our clients who are solo seniors have a difficult time imagining moving out of their homes. Understandably, giving up independence can be difficult. However, part of estate planning for solo seniors includes considering where you would like to live if you need assistance. There are many different options for assisted living in Mississippi other than traditional nursing homes. Many senior living facilities allow different levels of care, ranging from no assistance to around-the-clock care.
Unfortunately, assisted living facilities and nursing homes are expensive. Staying several months in a nursing home can drain a person’s savings. Many nursing homes cost between $70,000 and $100,000 a year. Taking the time to engage in nursing home planning is an essential aspect of solo senior estate planning.
Most private insurance companies will not pay for nursing home coverage, but Medicaid will if you qualify. We can help you create a plan to qualify for Medicaid benefits so you can protect your hard-earned assets and leave them to your loved ones instead of using them on nursing home care. You don’t want to wait until you need nursing home care to scramble to figure out a way to pay for it. The sooner you begin planning for nursing home care, the better. Even if you plan on paying for nursing home care out of your savings, it is always advisable to speak with one of our attorneys so that you will know your options and be able to make informed decisions.
Create an Aging Team
Creating an aging team is another important aspect of estate planning for solo seniors. An aging team typically includes your elder law attorney, financial advisor, accountant, family, and a friend you trust. If you live in a senior living community, your team can also include a trusted member of their staff. Your aging team will help you from becoming isolated and act as a safety net around you.
Consult a Solo Senior Estate Planning Lawyer
If you would like to begin estate planning as a solo senior, Palmer & Slay, PLLC is prepared to help you. Our estate planning lawyers have decades of experience and stay up-to-date on all elder law issues in Mississippi and at the federal level. We will help you create a thorough estate plan that includes all of the documents that you need to prepare a comprehensive estate plan. Contact us today to speak to one of our skilled Mississippi elder law attorneys.